Black 12 gun cabinet safe w/ FREE SHIPPING!!!! 

I clicked the Buy It Now button and then went over to PayPal and completed the transaction. stephens_st0re on eBay has several different models of the Homak safe at competitive prices (compared to other Homak’s for sale) and a 1381 star rating. This was Saturday. By Wednesday all I had was the auto-generated eBay email with no word at all from stephens_st0re. I was starting to get nervous. Come Friday, there it was on my front doorstep . . .

Before I get any further, I’ll explain that I chose a Homak for three reasons: 1) I already have one and I like it, 2) it has two locks versus one on the competition, and 3) I absolutely detest the green color that Stack-On uses on their cabinets. Number 1 wouldn’t apply to most people, number 2 is a potential design improvement, and number 3 is purely aesthetic. Plus I understand you can order Stack-On in black, although I only see the green ones in stores around here. But you can find Stack-On’s in stores; Homak is an internet-order-only option for me.

Where was I? Upside down. Not me: the box on my doorstep. Still, it looked fairly sturdy, like it would almost protect the contents. The Homak gun safe was clearly marked as requiring two men to lift and move. It was also clearly obvious that was ignored, as scuff marks, tears, and one puncture in the box indicates that a single guy manhandled it on and off the UPS truck.

After removing the Homak from the box, I noticed several small dings, the largest about three inches in size and maybe ¾ inch deep. I debated my options. Free shipping was most likely one way only, and any replacement would be as damaged if not more. Plus the damage was purely cosmetic and on the back wall, so I decided to ignore it. Just like I wanted to ignore the Made in China label, also on the box.

 The inside of the safe contained a variety of goodies, loosely clanking around. Several pre-cut sheets of adhesive backed foam were there, waiting for user installation. But wait! I needed to install the plastic doohickeys that the rifles rest against first and then trim the foam to fit.

The foam itself is of the “cheap is good” variety, so my plan is to discard it ASAP and go buy some better stuff later. The plastic doohickeys look neat, though. There’s two different sizes, the taller providing more clearance for a rifle with a large scope. Unfortunately there’s only two of that size and a baker’s dozen of the shorter pieces. These doohickeys mount on a rail that’s adhesive backed also. And the rail is the exact width of the back of the cabinet.

Uh-oh. For the eight-gun cabinet, the rifles are positioned across the back wall and the rail is perfect. The 12 gun cabinet is the same width, but position 6 rifles each along the deeper side walls. And the plastic rail is too long to fit the sides. So the one size fits all apparently doesn’t. They included two rails, but each will need to be trimmed to fit.

Suffice to say, I’m not thrilled by that. Furthermore, my eight-gun cabinet, purchased back in the 1980’s where I’m pretty sure we weren’t importing any Chinese stuff, had a metal rail spot-welded in for the rifle rest that provided additional rigidity to the cabinet. This one is lacking that rail, and it’s noticeable.

Also inside: three plastic trays that fit in the door (above, nice) and some miscellaneous screws and bolts. None of which is actually long enough to properly mount the cabinet to a wall. Along the back wall of the cabinet are three metal shelves spot-welded in that weren’t evident from the pictures on the website. Damn. If you’re looking primarily for rifle storage, the shelves are a nice touch. I planned to customize the inside and will need to remove these later.

I noticed the top of the cabinet had four equally spaced holes, each about a ¼ inch in diameter. I thought briefly that there must be some accessory, perhaps a top box, that would mount there. Then I realized that the bottom had the same four holes for mounting to the floor. Thus the top piece was cut, stamped, and drilled on the same machine as the bottom to save money. So I’ll be looking at filling these in later. I don’t expect this price level of cabinet to be hermetically sealed, but I’d prefer to not have open holes letting in dirt and dust.

I mentioned earlier that the Homak gun safe has two locks on the door. Each has a main lug and an extension to create four lock points. The Stack-On has one lock with two extensions to create three lock points. The extensions themselves didn’t look too robust, so I’m of the opinion that the Homak has two secure lock points versus the one for Stack-On.

Unfortunately, the door on mine wouldn’t stay completely closed when locked. There’s enough play for the door to not sit flush with the frame by at least a 3/8 inch. Comparing the locksets with my old one shows the bean counters’ touch. The new one is definitely cheaper and less robust looking. Plus now I’ll have to tinker to see if I can get the door to stay flush in the frame. Again, not good.

[Installation detail: there’s never a wall stud exactly where you need it to be. So I mounted a 2×4 horizontally against the back and side walls where I could attach it firmly to several different wall studs. I then attached both cabinets to the horizontal 2×4 using lag screws from inside the cabinet. I did this at both the top and bottom of the cabinets. A side benefit is this offsets the cabinet 1.75” away from the wall so that the bottom doesn’t hit any floor molding. Safe and secure.]

Finally, in moving the two around, it was quite noticeable that the smaller older cabinet was heavier than the larger new cabinet. I checked the metal at the seams and it appears that the new one is a thinner gage of sheet metal. Given that anyone with the right tools will get in regardless, it’s probably not a big deal. Except the old one feels more solid. Solid feels like quality, period.

Lest you think I have buyer’s remorse, I just mourn the fact that China has conquered the world with lowest cost merchandise and we’re poorer for it. At the end of the day, this is a locking steel cabinet that’ll hold your guns. It’s not perfect. The interior pieces are not the best quality. If you’re anal (or OCD), there’s several things you’ll want to touch up. I saw an equivalent Stack-On at Academy for $189. My final price, as delivered, was $234. In retrospect, I’m thinking I should have taken the Academy deal instead.

27 Responses to Gear Review: Homak Gun Safe

  1. Any statistics on the percentage of American products now manufactured in China? What do we have left now; Ford, Colt, and corn?

    The Academy deal sounds a lot better though, but for something you’re going to be storing hundreds, more than likely, thousands of dollars worth of firearms in, I don’t think it’s good enough. I’m betting you could crack this safe open with only a crowbar.

    • I shudder to think how much we depend on China for certain types of goods.

      As to a crowbar, in theory you could get the door open. However I mounted it in the corner in a closet. The tight space helps prevent necessary access such that you wouldn’t be able to get a good angle on the door. You’d have to rip out a significant chunk of closet wall to either pry the door off or pry the safe out of the closet.

      Still, a few minutes with power tools is all it would take. Time and money, time and money.

  2. Man this thing looks exactly like my stack on 14 gun safe which I paid only 120 bucks at dicks sporting goods about 2 years ago. Now days they are about 140-150 but still the same design safe. The only visible thing that is different is the fact that the stack on only has 1 lock where this safe has you turning two locks. Still looks like the same retention system.

    I don’t know how much you paid for it but if it was more than 200 the stack on 14 gun safe will be a much better buy.

    • Yes, I paid over $200. Yes, there are far better deals. Yes, I feel a little ripped off.

      But, all my firearms are now under lock and key. Not the best lock and key, noted, but lock and key.

      Live and learn.

      • Don: Over $200? Insane.

        Look, having spent most of the 25 year period between 1980 and 2005 as either an enlisted soldier or a college student, I understand what it’s like to be tight on cash, but IMO you would have been better off setting that $200 aside while saving up for a real safe. You can get an honest-to-God safe with a rotary lock and a UL fire rating for around $500. Liberty Safes are made in the US (at least the upper-end ones are, not sure about the less expensive ones.) They also have a kick-ass warranty.

        For all the “security” this cabinet offers, you might as well just get a steel tool cabinet at Home Depot and weld a hasp onto it with a padlock. Should run you less than $100. That will keep the kiddies out as well and will probably be only slightly easier for a burglar to get into.

  3. I hate it for you man… Around Christmas time Lowe’s has the Liberty Centurion fire proof Gun safes for like $300. I say C-list that bad boy and get a safe. Or save that as an overflow (ammo locker) because they have a tendency to fill themselves up somehow…

    • The money’s already spent, the locker’s already installed, I’ll live with it a few years before I piss off the spousal unit with yet another purchase. Especially since I just picked up a boat off of C-list, I’m kinda in the doghouse on my hobby expenses.

  4. I just mourn the fact that China has conquered the world with lowest cost merchandise and we’re poorer for it.

    You sanction your own victimization! You willingly paid for this crap!

    I think I paid 220-250 bucks a few years ago for a much smaller HandgunSafe by the now defunct R&D Enterprises. It was made in America and shows – solid. You can drop it or throw it around as much as you want and it won’t be bending or breaking (except for whatever it hits). It came in a box that says “If you drop me I’ll break your toes”. I did drop it when I moved and I think it might have broken my toe due to the lasting pain. Well worth the money, weight, and injury.

  5. I made a decision in 1980 to take the $ I had saved for a new gun, and instead use the funds to buy a safe- a REAL safe. Not 6 months after purchase, our front door was kicked in. Empty gun boxes, pistol rugs and rifle cases were strewn about my room, but it appeared the thieves didn’t even turn the dial on the safe.
    You’ve now got 2 really nice Homak ammo/accessories cabinets. Time to buy the SAFE you know you really want.
    In the meantime, to slow anyone with bad intentions down a bit, go into the kitchen and hide your can openers..

    And by the way, thanks for your article!

  6. I think you would be better off building a sturdy wooden box out of 2X4 boards. At least it would be just as hard to break into.

    I agree on buying a safe that is at least as good as one of the guns you have in it.

  7. It seems some of you folks have lost the concept of “limited budget”. Why buy that Honda when you could “put away that cash” for that nice solid BMW someday. I get so goddam sick and tired of that “save your money for something I can afford but you can’t” crap. Let me make this clear – SOME OF US FLAT ASS DON’T HAVE THE DAMN BUDGET FOR A $500+ SAFE!!! What about it is so hard to understand? If it bothers you so much that someone buys a gun locker then either pony up and buy them a full-on safe or shut the hell up.

    I have a Homak and to back it up, an 80lb pit (Sweet Pea) and 95lb Flatcoat Retriever (Cue Ball) that don’t exactly trust strangers when I’m not there. I’m at complete ease when I’m not home.

    Recently I ran into the very same problem as Don Curton – I ran out of space. In my garage I had an old, smaller Homak that had sit for many years and when I tried to find the keys to it, I couldn’t. My only option was to drill out the locks which honestly turned out to require way more effort than I expected, namely several freshly sharpened M2 steel drills and copious cutting fluid. Its much too easy to bag on gun lockers until you’ve actually tried to get into one. I have much more confidence in them after trying to get into one.

    • Jeeze- lighten up- I haven’t seen, in the responses here, the “Class Warfare” you seem to perceive.I didn’t see where anyone said you should buy something you can’t afford. Don appears to live in a very nice house, and posted in one of his responses that he’d just bought a boat- seems to me that rather than a matter of available funds, it’s a matter of priorities- looks like he just got a boat AND some security for his guns. Not Bad!

      • Wasn’t aimed at you good sir. I read a lot of different gun forums and get tired of some folks’ attitudes and it kinda spilled out in my previous post. Mini-14’s are trash compared to an AR, if it ain’t a Sig or HK you wasted your money etc, etc. I should be tantrum-free for quite a while now.

    • With you on that – my first security cabinet was a Homak, and I still use it for the .22 I tend to use the most, because it tends to be a PITA to get into the “serious” safe on a routine basis.

  8. Not junk.

    I’ve had one of these for…I don’t know–thirty years maybe. I bought it at an old Service Merchandise store (another company long gone) after I had a break in at my apartment. You know, closing the barn door after the horse is gone. The cabinet has moved with me through several apartments and, finally, has resided in the back of a closet at the house my wife and I bought almost 20 years ago. Luckily, no one has attempted to break in the whole time I’ve owned it. I suspect a casual, spur-of-the-moment thief would have a helluva time with it being as how it’s loaded up with a few thousand rounds of various ammunition as well as firearms. A well-prepared professional thief with a hand truck would be able to cart away one of those super-duty gun safes that costs as much as the guns inside, breaking into it later at his leisure. There is no way you can prepare for all possible events within a limited budget.

    My advice is to throw out the foam–after a decade or so, it turns to sticky mush but the adhesive backing is archival. Cleaning it off your guns is no fun at all. Also, check the welds on the bottom closely. A poorly attached bottom plate can be the weak point of one of these cabinets–if it can be tipped over, the bottom can be forced off and the contents are accessible.

    It’s not a multi-thousand dollar, two-ton, fire-resistant safe but it’s not junk.

  9. Thanks for the comments – I just thought I’d throw a little clarification out there. Yes, this is not a real “safe” by any means, it is a storage locker with a fairly decent set of locks. I think it’s a little harder to break into than some people suggest (it’d take more than a can opener) but I’m under no illusion that it would stop a dedicated person who has tools and time. I tried to review it as such. And under that pretense, it is an effective locker that is overpriced. My advice is to just get whatever is on sale in your local area, don’t spend extra on quality that ain’t there anymore.

    Money is tight these days, but saving up for something better wasn’t an option. First, my existing gun locker was full and the overflow stashed in my closet. With two teenage kids, I had unknown number of hooligans parading through the house at any time, thus I figured waiting longer was not good. This will stop the hooligans. Easily. Second, if I had more money it just would of been spent on something else. Like my $800 boat that I’m rebuilding. Or new flooring in the bathroom. My wife’s suggestion to the extra guns? Sell them and give her the money for something useful. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a challenge. Marriage, that is.

    Finally, I lock my door on the car to keep amateurs from jacking the radio. I carry insurance for when they break the window and jack the radio anyway. This is the concept I tried to convey in the previous installment. As such, the storage locker concept does indeed put the guns under lock and key and provides a significant step up from the “hidden in back of the closet” approach. I’m sure lots of people would appreciate that level of protection, even as some of you clamor for a “real safe or nothing” approach. For me, nothing wasn’t the right choice.

    Thanks for reading

    • Good discussion – the Homak is WAY better than “hide it in the closet/under the bed until I can afford a REAL safe”, which ends up being an excuse to never secure your guns.

      The .22LR in your hand is much better for personal protection that the .45 you left at home.

  10. I bought a Homak for around $85 at a local big box 25 years ago when it was all I could afford. It did its job of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. When I could afford a better safe, I dropped $650 on a real safe that I still have. But I still have the Homak for overflow, and for inexpensive air rifles.

  11. I have 9 Homak security cabinets. While I agree these are not safes, they do provide security for prying young hands and quick in and out theives. The cabinets are located in a large, locked second floor walk-in closest. They are bolted to the wall and floor. The house is located at dead end cul-de-sac and is electronically alarmed. I carry insurance on the firearms against theft and damage (and carry a .357 magnum) . If a theif wants the firearms that badly to get them out of the house….then I don’t want to be home. For me, they have served me well.

  12. I have a 25 to 30-year old Homak 8-gun safe. I got it because I didn’t have the money for a better one. And when kids came along I felt good having things locked up. I now have much better (real fireproof) safes, but the Homak still sits there with some of my guns in it. I lag-bolted it to the studs in a bedroom closet. I don’t think a bad guy would have much success swinging his crowbar in such a tight space. I believe this limited access in a tight space adds to the protection of these lesser quality safes.

    I’ve seen U-Tube videos of guys opening a safe in 2-min with crowbars. But this is always done in a warehouse with the safe on it’s back. Not really a realistic situation as how many of us leave our safes in a big open room without bolting it to a wall? Not many is my guess.

    I can’t say what the new China-made ones look like, but my older USA-made one works well. I did make a few mods, I got rid of the foam that fell apart after a few years. I made a wood piece to hold the guns in place and covered the front of it with felt. I also made a few racks to hold handguns on the door, and I put a heavy duty door pull (salvaged from an old tool cabinet) on it so I could open the door without pulling on the key.

    .

  13. […] Gear Review: Homak Gun Safe | The Truth About Guns – Black 12 gun cabinet safe w/ FREE SHIPPING!!!! I clicked the Buy It Now button and then went over to PayPal and completed the transaction. stephens_st0re on eBay has several different models of the Homak safe at competitive prices (compared to other Homak’s for sale) and a 1381 star … […]

  14. I bought a large pistol safe and the first time i took out the baeries to check them the unit locked up with both lights lit.

    Calling the company for tech troubleshooting advice was useless.

    Although the woman was very nice she cold offer no solution.

    I pried it open with a pry bar and junked it.

    I would never buy a safe without a key backup again

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